They say that change is inevitable. This is true in life, and in the world of high school athletics. As each year passes, changes are made to rules and regulations of high school sports that affect the way the games are played and officiated.
There will be plenty of changes coming this next school year, but here are a few that will be prominent.
The eight four-team groups will then play a semifinal round and finals round to determine a champion. For example, when Rocky Hill played Ansonia this past season it was in the semifinal round. Under the new format, the two powerhouse schools would have be playing in the championship game. This new format will also shorten the season, which is good news for those who had to battle their opponents and Mother Nature last season.
The committee also defined defenseless player, which will now be defined as, “a player who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury.” Both of these offenses will now be penalized as illegal personal contact penalties, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
Both targeting and defenseless player have become a point of emphasis in the college and professional ranks over the past few years due to the rising number of concussions and head related injuries. In college, targeting result in an automatic ejection of the player committing the penalty and in the pros, a 15-yard penalty is enforced and the player can be subject to a fine from the league.
This change makes the high school rule the same as college and professional basketball. It will eliminate several “line violations” that would occur on a regular basis.
Another point of emphasis this upcoming year will be to continue a better protocol on how to handle concussions. The CIAC has continued to work with the NHFS to come up with guidelines to be followed if a student athlete suffers a concussion in practice or competition.
The two organizations have emphasized better education for players, coaches, parents, and officials over the last couple of years. One of the ways that they have modified the system for next season is to limits the amount of contact, outside of the games, that is allowed during football season. Coaches will now have stricter mandates for the amount of contact that is permitted during practice. This combined with the rules changes listed above will help reduce the likelihood of concussions or other head related injuries for student athletes.
Young, Seaver, & Skowronek may sound like a law firm. But in reality, those are the last names of the three local seniors who participated in Connecticut’s second annual Super-100 all-star football game at Rentschler Field on Saturday.
The game featured the top 100 seniors from last season competing with and against one other. For many of the participating players it was be the last football game they’ll played in the state of Connecticut and, for all, it was their last high school game. The seniors were split into two teams, Team Constitution and Team Nutmeg, using a draft system.
Tommy Seaver, who starred at Rocky Hill as a tight end and linebacker, was selected by Team Constitution, who was led by Xavier coach Sean Marinan. Seaver played outside linebacker and was in on a handful of tackles to contribute in a 29-20 Constitution victory.
Quarterbacks Stephen Barmore and Jalen Ollie, along with running backs Harold Cooper and Xavier’s Andrew Meoli torched Team Nutmeg in the first half, giving the eventual victors an insurmountable 27-0 halftime lead.
Geoff Skowronek, who dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage at Wethersfield, started at right tackle for Team Nutmeg and held his own against a fierce Constitution pass-rush. He’s now off to protect the quarterbacks at Assumption College.
Chris Young, who shattered every rushing record at Rocky Hill, also played for Team Nutmeg. The Springfield-bound running back ran the ball well in the first half and then was instrumental in the team’s second half comeback attempt with his terrific pass protection.
All three players also played on various special teams.
The all-star game was sponsored by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, with all the proceeds from the game going towards athletic scholarships for the four state chapters of the National Football Foundation.
Wethersfield's Whit Devaux was named the Boys Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year
It was a spectacular year in local high school athletics. The 2013-2014 school year consisted of multiple championships, last-second heroics, and several great individual performances. Here’s a look at the standout players from each sport in the first annual Rare Reminder Area Athletes of the Year.
Boys’ Cross Country: Alex Tan (Rocky Hill): Tan was the area’s best distant runner. He finished sixth in the 5000-meter run at the Class SS finals and then ran well at the open championships against the elite runners in the state. The graduating senior is also an accomplished pianist.
Girls’ Cross Country: Nicole Faucette (Cromwell): Faucette finished seventh in the 5000-meter run at the Class SS finals. The junior also completed in a variety of relay and distant events for the Indians’ track & field team.
Field Hockey: Kayla Guest (Newington): Guest did an outstanding job in the net this season for the Indians. The graduating goaltender posted four straight shutouts during the middle of the season and allowed more than one goal only twice in 15 games. She also starred for the school’s basketball team, where she was known for her great all-around play.
Football: Chris Young (Rocky Hill): Young shattered his own records, rushing for 1996 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior. He also starred as a defensive back, helping lead Rocky Hill to their first ever postseason victory. The talented tailback is taking his talents to Springfield University to play collegiately.
Boys’ Soccer: Ryan Murphy (Cromwell): Murphy had a solid regular season before transforming into the second-coming of Lev Yashin once the Class S tournament started. The junior goalkeeper allowed only two goals in four tournament games, culminating with a shutout in the championship game. He’ll be back protecting the net next season as Cromwell goes for the repeat.
Girls’ Soccer: Kaila Lozada (Newington): Lozada took local soccer by storm, earning all-state honors as a sophomore. She led Newington’s offensive charge all season, finishing with 13 goals, including scoring the equalizer for the Indians in their first round tournament upset overtime victory over Newtown. The underclasswoman is both a baller and a scholar, finishing on Newington’s honor roll.
Girls’ Swimming: Caroline Even (Wethersfield): Even won the 100-yard butterfly and was on the relay team that won the 200-yard freestyle at the Class M finals. The junior also posted a third place finish in the 50-yard freestyle and was on the 200-yard medley team that finished second at the event. She finished as a consensus all-conference selection.
Girls’ Volleyball: Kirstyn Arcata (Rocky Hill): Arcata helped lead the Terriers on a crazy tournament ride, which included three wild upsets, before the team lost in the semifinal round. The senior captain registered 40 aces and an amazing 245 digs, 24 of which came in a tournament win over heavily favored Lewis Mills. She also starred on the hardwood for Rocky Hill.
Girls’ Basketball: Janelle Harrison (Cromwell): Harrison finished off her illustrious high school career with her best statistical season yet. She average 17.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest. She was named a consensus first-team All-State selection and will be playing for the University of Hartford next season.
Boys’ Basketball: Matt Turkington (Cromwell): Turkington was the do-it-all guy for the Panthers. He used his great size, outside shooting, and soft touch around the rim to amass 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and both a block and a steal per game. His senior efforts helped lead Cromwell to the Class S semifinals and earned him first-team Class S all-state honors. He also enjoys soccer and has said that he prepares for athletic competitions by eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.
Gymnastics: Taylor Garrey (Wethersfield): Garrey was a sophomore sensation that improved with each event this season. She capped off her year by posting excellence scores in the vault (8.3) and floor routine (8.25) at the Class M state championships. She also contributed on the diamond this season, playing outfield on the Eagles softball team.
Ice Hockey: Billy Connor (Wethersfield): Connor was one of the bright spots on a young Eagles hockey team. The senior captain finished with nearly double-digits in both goals and assists and was an honorable mention for the all-state team. He also played in the state’s all-star game.
Girls’ Indoor Track: Laura Buonocore (Newington): Buonocore finished fourth at the Class L championships in pole vaulting. She also used her athletic talents to compete in the Heptathlon at the United States Coast Guard Academy, she finished 17th of 53 competitors.
Boys’ Indoor Track: Alex Brown (Rocky Hill): Brown was fast as the wind this year. He finished 2nd in the 55-meter dash at the Class S finals and then finished 6th in the same event against the nutmeg’s best sprinters at the state open. The junior was also part of the 1600 Sprint Medley team, which finished 2nd at the Class S finals.
Boys’ Swimming: Jack Malespini (Rocky Hill): Malespini capped off his high school career by winning the 50-yard Freestyle and a second-place finish in the 100-yard Freestyle at the Class S finals. He topped those feats by finishing third and fifth in same events at the state open. The exiting senior was also a regular on Rocky Hill’s honor roll.
Wrestling: Christian Zotti (Newington): Zotti downed nearly every opponent he grappled with this year. He was the runner-up in the 152-pound division at the Class L finals and then finished fourth in the state open. The senior was just a fierce on the field as he was on the mat this season. He was a standout safety for the Indians football team, leading the team in tackles, including an amazing 22-tackle performance against Simsbury.
Cheerleading: Cromwell Cheer: Alexa Beachemin, Kwaby Asante, Sierra Vasquez, and Megan Zazzaro were the quartet of seniors on the Panther’s squad who finished sixth at the Class S finals.
Baseball: Tommy Seaver (Rocky Hill): Seaver capped an amazing senior year by pitching the final inning of the Class S championship victory over Haddam-Killingworth. He was nearly unhittable from the mound during the Terriers historical championship season, which culminated with the state’s #1 ranking. The graduating senior was also the Terrier’s inspirational leader on the gridiron and hardwood this year.
Girls’ Golf: Marie Allo (Newington): Allo finished atop the Indians’ leaderboard in nearly all of their matches this season. The senior captain was also the medalist (lowest score on the course) in nine of their 15 matches this season.
Boys’ Golf: Ben Goldman (Wethersfield): Goldman was part of a terrific group of senior golfers at Wethersfield. He finished 15th overall at the Division-II championship. He will be attending UConn in the fall.
Girls’ Lacrosse: Alex Zapatka (Newington): Zapatka carried the Indians into the postseason and scored four goals in a first-round tournament upset of Southington. She is a perennial all-conference player that will be wielding a lacrosse stick at the University of New Haven next spring.
Boys’ Lacrosse: Bryan Esposito (Newington): Esposito led the team in scoring, despite missing four games. He started the season with a season-high six-goal performance against Rocky Hill and followed that up with a season-high eight points in the next game against Fitch.
Girls’ Outdoor Track: Carley Orlacchio (Cromwell): Orlacchio showed her versatility all season, competing on both the track and in the field. She showed her adaptable athleticism with fourth-place finishes in both the long jump and javelin throw during the Class S finals. The senior is also an accomplished sprinter and hurdler.
Boys’ Outdoor Track: Whit DeVaux (Wethersfield): DeVaux was one of the best javelin throwers in the state. He finished with a second-place finish at the Class L finals and then placed sixth amongst all javelinist at the state open. The graduating senior is also known for his fine work on the gridiron where he became a YouTube sensation for his effortless and miraculous one-handed touchdown catch.
Softball: Erika Leonard (Rocky Hill): Leonard wrapped up a phenomenal high school career with a great senior season. The sensational shortstop helped lead the Terriers to the Class M semifinals with her outstanding play at the plate and in the field. She’s Maine-bound to play softball collegiately.
Girls’ Tennis: Riya Abraham (Newington): Abraham finished her career at Newington by winning a state open match, before falling (8-6) to the #12 ranked player in the state. The graduating senior was also inducted into the National Science Honor Society during the fall semester.
Boys’ Tennis: Ron Abraham (Newington): Abraham is the younger brother of Riya and was the Indians #1 rated singles player as a sophomore. The underclassman proved his stature during the Class L finals when he victorious in the first two rounds, before eventually losing to the guy, who lost to the guy, who lost to the guy, who lost the championship match.
Boys’ Volleyball: Riley McManus (Newington): McManus is graduating from high school on the highest of notes. He earned high honors in academics and was the most valuable player of the Class M state tournament, which ended with the Indians’ second title in three seasons. The setter finished his championship senior season with 725 assists, 135 digs, 29 kills, and 13 aces.
Six local athletes competed against their athletic peers at the State Open Decathlon/Heptathlon. The two-day long event took place at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London and featured the boys competing in ten separate events, while the girls competing in seven.
Newington’s Kurt Swenor took home fourth-place overall at the event. He excelled during the second day of the event, finishing second in the discus, third in the pole vault, and fourth in the 1500-meter run.
Wethersfield’s Kyle Vonick won the 1500-meter run, finishing 23rd overall at the event. Vonick’s classmate Whit DeVaux finished 24th overall, shining at the throwing events. He placed third in the javelin and fifth in the shot put.
Wilmarie Rodriguez and Laura Buonocore represented Newington in the heptathlon, finishing 18th and 24th, respectively. Both had their best event at the 800-meter run. Buonocore finished the nearly half-mile run in eighth and Rodriguez finished one spot behind her.
Cromwell’s Erin Glynn and Newington’s Gregory Zydanowicz also competed in the annual event, which concluded the track & field season.
Cromwell's Cory Baldwin
Cromwell baseball mastered the art of ‘small ball’ this season. The team used bunts, smart base running, and excellent pitching in their pursuit for a third straight state title appearance. They utilized the effective offensive tactic up until the final out of their exciting Class S semifinal game against Thomaston.
The Panthers had struggled from the plate for most of the game and, as daylight gave way to night, were trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. They were three outs from elimination and in the unfamiliar position of needing to quickly generate runs before the sun set on the Berlin night sky and their season.
It continued to look bleak for the second-seeded Panthers after sophomore Peter Dewey popped-out to center field to start of the final stanza.
Second baseman Mike McNally breathed new life into the weary Panthers when he drilled a shot down the third base line for a single. The reliable senior then stole second base, before senior Kevin Radziewicz walked, bringing the tying run to the plate.
Thomaston’s starting pitcher Blaise Russo had thrown an incredible game, but the high pitch count started to takes its toll on his mighty left arm. Following Russo’s rough start to the final frame, Bear’s manager Robert McMahon decided to replace his starter with the equally powerful Brian Butkevicius.
The pitching change initially looked like a poor decision.
Cromwell’s Logan Lessard connected on Butkevicius’ third pitch and reached first base after his hard infield liner was mishandled, allowing McNally to score. Jake Regula then grounded to first base, which drove in Radziewicz, narrowing the deficit to 5-4, with the potential winning-run coming to the plate.
Cory Baldwin, who had come up big in clutch moments for the Panthers this season, was given the task of extending Cromwell’s season. He did his best, working the pitch count by fouling off three straight pitches, but ultimately he grounded out to second base---ending Cromwell’s comeback attempt and their season.
The fantastic finish was just the icing on the cake for the standing room only crowd at SGT Zipadelli Field inside Sage Park. The enthusiastic fans were treated to a memorable two and a half hour marathon of a game.
The epic tournament game featured a rare third-inning pitching change from Cromwell, who had leaned on their strong pitching staff all season. Lessard started the game from the mound, but had trouble finding his spots against the balanced Bears’ lineup. He began the third inning with a 2-1 cushion, but two doubles and a walked batter later he had dug himself in a 3-2 hole. Cromwell manager Lewis Pappariella decided to make a change and turned the ball over to the team’s ace Regula. Regula made an immediate impact, retiring six of the next seven batters he faced, which included four strikeouts.
The teams battled to a standstill for the next two innings before Thomaston broke the scoring drought in the sixth inning when pinch-running freshman Jared Khan scored following a throwing error. The Bears added their fifth and final run in the top of the seventh when Michael Milius crossed home plate for the game-deciding run.
Thomaston’s celebration was short lived and their championship dreams were crushed four days later when they were blanked by Portland, 8-0. Portland entered the tournament as the 18th seeded team in Class S, but miraculously allowed only two runs in five tournament victories to capture the championship.
The loss to Thomaston ended another stellar season for Cromwell baseball. They finished the regular season 17-3 and added five more wins in the conference and state tournament. The team loses six seniors (McNally, Radziewicz, Lessard, Regula, Maciej Dawidowski, and Shant Darakjian) to graduation. They will be very young next season, with only Baldwin and starting pitcher Tucker Lord entering their senior seasons.
Last season the Newington boys’ volleyball team was defeated in the second-round the Class L state tournament. This was following a title at the Class M level in 2012.
The Indians were back playing at the Class M level this season and promptly dominated the league, recapturing the title with a straight-set victory over Oxford---who they also defeated to win the 2012 title. The team was so dominant that 18 of their 22 wins came in straight sets, including the last 10 matches, succeeding their only loss of the season (a 3-2 loss to Cheshire on May 7th).
Senior setter Riley McManus was named the most valuable player of the championship victory over Oxford. The captain tallied 30 assists, eight digs, three kills, and two blocks in the final game of his high school career. He finished his senior campaign with 725 total assists, averaging a remarkable 9.1 assist per set.
Despite the match only lasting three sets, Oxford did give Newington their most competitive game since their lone loss to Cheshire. Oxford managed to score 20 points in all three frames, but in the end Newington finished each set on top (25-22, 25-20, 25-20).
The final was not only a rematch of the 2012 title game, but it was also a showdown of the the top two seeds in Class M play. The top-seeded Indians’ well rounded lineup proved to be too much for Oxford, who came into the contest riding 21-game winning streak.
Junior Bret Sullivan led Newington with a game-high 19 digs. Fellow junior Jordan Aprea and senior Jon Cloutier finished the championship triumph with 12 and 10 kills, respectively.
The team will lose several key seniors to graduation. However, they should be primed to defend their title with a half a dozen juniors (Aprea, Sullivan, Nick Hinchcliffe, Kyle Armour, Vincent Li, and Tyler Callahan) entering their senior seasons.
Cromwell baseball is challenging the town’s uber-successful basketball programs for school supremacy.
The baseball team is seeking their third straight Class S finals trip, which would best both the boys’ and girls’ basketball programs (who have combined for three championship appearances since 2009). The Panthers baseball team won the championship in 2012 and fell to Oxford in last season’s title game.
The 2014 tournament team is off to a great start, with Cromwell easily defeating their first two opponents and then relying on their outstanding pitching staff to reach the semifinal round.
There latest tournament triumph was a 2-0 blanking of Somers in the quarterfinal round. Pitcher Jake Regula tallied his fourth shutout in five starts. The senior struck out a season-high 12 of the 23 batters he faced and allowed only two hits--- tied for the fewest hits he’s allowed all season.
Cromwell needed Regula’s performance, because the team’s bats were not as lively as they were in the tournament’s first two rounds. Mike McNally provided an early boost, advancing to first base on a fielding error in the bottom half of the first inning. He would eventually score later in the inning, giving the Panthers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Kevin Radziewicz later added an insurance run in the sixth inning following a sacrifice grounder by junior Corey Baldwin.
Somer’s pitching ace Adam Donovan held the Panthers’ lineup to only four hits in the victory, but it was more than enough to advance to within a game of another title shot.
The win over Somers was Cromwell’s third of the tournament. Coach Lewis Pappariella’s squad started the tourney with an 8-0 shutout of Hale Ray. Junior pitcher Tucker Lord walked only two batters and threw a complete game masterpiece, which included 10 strikeouts.
Leadoff-man McNally connected on three hits in four at-bats. His hits included a double and an RBI--- one he parlayed into a run-scored. Logan Lessard also hammered a double, which drove in two base runners.
The team followed up their opening round victory with an equally impressive 8-1 walloping of Derby. Lessard assumed the mound in the second-round showdown and struck out nine batters. He added a run scored from the plate.
Cromwell’s early tournament success comes on the heels of a fantastic 17-3 regular season, followed by a Shoreline Conference (SLC) title. They entered the tournament as the second seed, ranked only behind two-loss East Hampton. The top-seeded Bellringers earned a first round bye, but they were upset in East Hampton by 17th ranked Portland in the second round. Oxford (last season’s champs) also were ousted in round two. This clears the path for the hungry Panthers to possibly bring the championship trophy back to Cromwell after a year hiatus.
Rocky Hill has deservingly received most of the attention this season in the local softball world. However, Cromwell and Newington showed this season why they’ll be forces to reckon with for years to come.
Cromwell finished with an inconsistent 9-11 regular season, before rebounding by winning their first two Shoreline Conference (SLC) tournament games, earning the 24th seed in the Class S state tourney. The Panthers then upset ninth seeded Abbot Tech 8-0, before eventually losing to eighth seed Old Saybrook.
Coach Angelo Morrello had a very young team this season, with only three seniors on the roster. The three seniors, Malorie Leone, Taylor Polizonis, and Nicole Poole, were all captains and played exceptional throughout the season. Leone led the team in hits and runs, as well as excelling as a pitcher. Polizonis and Poole both finished their senior season with double-digits in hits.
The trio of seniors will be missed, but the team returns Kate Pietraszek and Alyssa Poole following phenomenal freshman campaigns. The two first-year players finished first and second on the team in RBIs. The team will also have captain and versatile shortstop Megan Fazekas returning as a senior.
Newington also bounced back from a slow start this season, winning seven of their final eight regular season games. The late-season run earned the team an 18th seed in the Class LL tourney. The surging Indians then pasted higher-seeded Manchester, 11-1, before eventually falling to second seed Darien in the second round of the tournament.
The team will lose a handful of seniors to graduation, including captains Alyssa Frohock and Dana Gionfriddo. Multipurpose third basewoman Briana Woods, as well as Brianna Biloudeau and Julia Delgado will also be graduating.
Pitcher sensation Olivia Burgos will be returning for her senior season. She dominated at a junior, excelling from the mound as well as leading the team in batting average, hits, doubles, triples, and RBIs. Catcher Katrina Peck will also be back for her final season. She was a vital part to Burgos’ pitching success and she also hit two of the team’s four homeruns in 2014.
Cromwell's Tucker Lord
There is no denying the rivalry between Cromwell and Morgan. Both schools belong to the highly competitive Shoreline Conference and seemingly play each other at crucial moments each season in nearly every sport.
The latest chapter in their rivalry was written in baseball’s opening round of the Shoreline Conference (SLC) Tournament. Cromwell used an excellence pitching performance from Jake Regula and a big third inning from the plate to blank the visiting Huskies, 5-0, at Fran Monnes Field at Cromwell High School.
Regula was a little shaky at the start of the game and had to get himself out of an early jam before cruising the rest of the afternoon. He opened the game by walking two of the first three batters he faced and a fielding error had loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first inning. The dart-throwing righty regained his control and struck out the next batter. He then forced a ground ball, which was scooped up by the shortstop, who flipped the ball to the second baseman, who turned and fired the ball to first—resulting in a classic 6-4-3 double play. After the inning-ending double play, Regula was nearly perfect from the mound over the final six innings, striking out four more Huskies and allowing only two hits. The win was his second consecutive shutout and third straight overall.
Multi-sport star Mike McNally was the catalyst behind Cromwell’s offense. The senior infielder was the Panther’s leadoff man and belted a blooper to the gap in leftfield for a single to start the bottom half of the first inning. Captain catcher Kevin Radziewicz drove McNally home with an RBI single, giving Cromwell the lead for good. McNally finished a perfect 3 for 3 from the plate and added another run to his impressive afternoon.
The Panther’s added three more runs in the third and an insurance run in the fourth inning to preserve their fifth victory in a row, eighteen overall. One of the many welcomed surprises this season has been freshman Sean McLaven. The outfield has a cannon for an arm and has held his own at the plate this season. He finished with a hit and run in the victory over Morgan and hasn’t committed an error in the past eight games.
The victory was Cromwell’s third against their archrival this season. Each game has been a shutout, with the Panthers outscoring the Huskies by a combined 16-0 score in the trio of meetings.
Cromwell followed up the opening round victory by defeating Haddam-Killingworth in the semifinals of the tournament. Logan Lessard continued Cromwell’s domination from the mound, pitching a complete game and striking out eight, in a 3-0 shutout. McNally again led the Cromwell bats, registering two hits, a run, and two stolen bases in the win.
The Panthers finished off their successful week by edging East Hampton 2-1 in the finals of the SLC tournament. Regula again pitched a gem, striking out nine. He also banged out two hits and drove in a run from the plate.
The team now heads into the Class S Tournament as the #2 seed. They’re four wins away from a potential third straight trip to the championship game.
Newington's Jordan Aprea
The Newington boys’ volleyball team suffered their first and only loss of the season against the Cheshire Rams on May 7th. Since that loss the team was been flawless.
“It really refocused us,” Coach Curt Burns said regarding the only blemish on the team’s record, “You never want to lose, but the loss didn’t change our goals. We’ve been playing some good volleyball since the loss.”
Burns and his boys have reeled off ten straight victories and haven’t dropped a set in any of the games. The ten-game winning streak has included straight-set wins over fellow powerhouses Glastonbury and Wethersfield.
The Indians have had several players step up during the late-season surge, including junior Nick Hinchcliffe. The 6’4 outside hitter has been the model of consistency during the second half of the season, registering three straight games with double-digits in kills.
“Nick has really come through for us this season,” said Burns, who’s been coaching at Newington since 2004, “He’s very athletic. He’s one of our highest jumper and has good size and athleticism. You can really see his development as he’s learned the skills to go with his natural ability.”
Fellow junior Jordan Aprea has shaken off an early season shoulder injury and has been posting great all-around numbers, including an 18-point, 2-dig performance in the victory over Glastonbury.
“[Jordan] was all-state as a sophomore, so that was a really big accomplishment,” Burns said, “He missed the first couple of matches due to injury, but he’s quickly caught up and his numbers are right there with everybody.”
The Indians closed out the regular season with a victory over Lewis Mills. Jon Cloutier lead the way in the team’s 19th victory with 12 kills and 3.5 block assists.
Newington finished the regular season 19-1, which was good enough to preserve the #1 seed in the upcoming Class M state tournament. The team tuned-up for the state tourney by breezing through the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) tournament. The Indians beat Southington and Farmington in straight-sets. Senior setter Riley McManus combined for 63 assists in the two tourney games.
“Riley has been really good at distributing the ball and is very balanced,” Burns added, “He’s been a great leader for us on and off the court.”
Newington now turns to attention to the Class M state tournament, where they are one of only two teams with a single loss. The other team is Oxford, who has won 18 straight games since suffering an early season loss. Oxford was last season’s state champs and Newington defeated Oxford to win the 2012 championship. The two schools seem to be on a collision course towards a championship for the ages later this month.
“We been watching each other throughout the year,” Burns said regarding the budding rivalry with Oxford, “We could meet again in the finals and it would be a good match.”
Both teams would have to win two tournament games in order to meet in the highly anticipated finals rematch. Newington’s last home game and first tournament game will be this Friday. Action starts at 6 p.m. inside Newington High School.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin